dark        
spacer

Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

0

Ninja War Never Changes

Endings are hard.

Whether you're putting the finishing touches on a blog post or finding a way to wrap up a decade-and-a-half-long epic, concluding almost any affair in a way that satisfies all involved is a challenge.

That's the challenge Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto faced when putting the capstone on his superpowered ninja saga, and his success, to be frank, is debatable. Thankfully, the same can't be said of Cyber Connect 2's attempt to mold that conclusion to its fighting-game framework one last time.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)
Developer: Cyber Connect 2
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Released: February 4, 2016 (JP), February 5, 2016 (EU), February 9, 2016 (NA/SA)
MSRP: $59.99

Indeed, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is purportedly the last of the series, despite this particular installment being the first of its kind that Cyber Connect 2 have brought to this generation of consoles, complete with jazzed-up visuals and just the right place in the Naruto storyline to take advantage of some high-octane ninja magic. 

And there is a lot of ninja magic in this one. With the characters at the height of their power and the stakes almost literally apocalyptic, there's no holding back on a grand series of massive, world-shaking battles.

That's what the whole single-player mode really is, come to think of it. With the previous numbered installment covering the minor and major skirmishes of the Fourth Ninja World War, the entirety of the story is spent almost exclusively following the original members of Team 7 - Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi -  as they take their final steps and confront the last three villains of the saga. I'll decline to name them here on the off chance that there's a reader out there whose primary source of information about Naruto is these games, but suffice it to say that the matchups are suitably grand in scale and significance. The game makes few allowances for people new to Naruto, but the story is simple enough to follow even without in-depth familiarity, and Naruto fans will find that the visuals and action lend a spectacular, explosive edge to a manga finale that practically slogged at the end. 

With the narrative being as condensed as it is to the principal cast, one might be forgiven for thinking that Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 would have a shallower bench than usual, but the opposite is true. Dozens of characters across the entire series' timeline are present and playable. Young or old, dead or alive, if one was a ninja in Naruto, one is on this game's roster.

Of course, a large cast has always been a selling point for the series, so that's hardly surprising at this point. Perhaps more damning is the fact that many of the fighters available are, but for a different costume and a high-resolution touch-up, almost identical to their incarnations from previous titles. Though that does dull the value proposition somewhat for longtime players, in this case it's better to have too many options for play than too few.

Both concerning and comforting is how similarly the game plays to almost every other edition of the franchise. The controls haven't changed - most characters control similarly, and differ mainly in their selection of combos and available powers - and minor adjustments to balancing won't really resonate outside the minority of players that take the combat and competitive aspect of the game seriously. That said, folks into either aspect of Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's combat are well-taken care of. Online play comes with a number of desirable options for customization, stat-tracking, and organizing tournament and ranked play. The online experience is quite connection-dependent, though, so one shouldn't expect matchups from faraway lands to play especially well.

The real party piece is the new ability for players to swap between any member of their chosen team during a match, almost at will. Whereas in previous games players would select a character and two supports to be called at the tap of a shoulder button, a flick of the right stick can switch out characters to extend a combo, escape a bad situation, or even move over to a more suitable moveset. In adding this new feature, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 evokes shades of Marvel vs. Capcom, a similarly frantic fighter, and one whose vision of team-based play fits well with the coordination and combination techniques so common in the manga.

In the end, the game doesn't stray too far from formula, trading the risk of the overly familiar to refine and emphasize the aspects that made the game so notable in the first place: A massive roster, eye-popping visuals, and an obvious love for all things Naruto. That doesn't make for a huge amount of novelty, but thankfully, endings aren't about the new, but about remembering all that came before. In that, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is a good way to go out.

 

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)
Developer: Cyber Connect 2
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Released: February 9, 2016
MSRP: $49.99


You are logged out. Login | Sign up

 
 

 

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 reviewed by Josh Tolentino

8

GREAT

Impressive effort with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
How we score:  The Japanator reviews guide

 
 
 

TwitterRedditEmailFacebook
 
Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures


 



Also on Japanator: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4   (4)   From our database:

  • Steam's Anime Weekend sale reveals the depths of our infiltration - Josh Tolentino
  • Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 - Josh Tolentino
  • Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's demo goes big and sparkly - Josh Tolentino
  • Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 summons the flashy ninja techniques - Salvador G Rodiles
  • Team 7 and Ten Tails make their appearance in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 - Anthony Redgrave
  • Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's first trailer gets straight to the end - Josh Tolentino
  • Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 takes it to the next-gen - Josh Tolentino
  • More related stories
    Filed under... #fighting game #Namco Bandai #naruto #ps4 #video games #xbox one

    READER COMMENTS LOADING BELOW...


    LET'S KEEP THE COMMUNITY GREAT


    You're not expected to always agree, but do please keep cool and never make it personal. Report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community team. Also, on the right side of a comment you can flag nasty comments anonymously (we ban users dishing bad karma). For everything else, contact us!



     
     
  •